March 4, 2021

The heat wave threatens to leave the Greenland ice sheet at minimum levels

The heat wave currently plaguing numerous countries in Europe now threatens to affect the Danish island of Greenland and reduce its surface ice sheet to historic lows, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned today.

This heat wave, caused by hot air from North Africa, will bring unusually high temperatures to Greenland, which so far this month has already lost 160,000 million tons of ice on the surface, the spokeswoman warned at a press conference in Geneva of WMO Clare Nullis.

"All indications suggest that the phenomenon is related to climate change, which generates increasingly frequent and intense heat waves," said the spokeswoman.

According to Danish meteorologists, the melting of the largest island in the world threatens to leave the layer of ice water on its surface to the minimum levels reached in 2012.

This also affects the rest of the Arctic, WMO warned, although in this case it is not expected that the ice concentration minimums observed in 2012 will also be exceeded.

In the ocean around the North Pole, the ice sheet currently extends to 7.84 million square kilometers, 1.91 million below the average recorded between 1981 and 2010.

The heat wave, the second that Europe suffers in less than a month, has caused high temperature records in countries such as Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, while the city of Paris on Thursday recorded its hottest day in history, at reach its thermometers at 42.6 degrees Celsius.

Nullis stressed that in many cases record temperatures were not beaten by mere tenths as usual, but by "two, three or even four degrees Celsius, something absolutely incredible."

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